Once again, there are cries of ‘foul’ — to say nothing of foul cries — emanating from the leader of the MQM, Altaf Hussain, based in London. His plaint is so worded as to have considerably ruffled the feathers of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, to the point at which he proclaimed that enough was enough and that it was time to talk formally to the British government. Altaf Hussain was railing against the actions of the Rangers and his language was indeed more than usually intemperate. The quite volatile situation in the city requires calm heads and wise words, but the MQM leadership has failed in this regard so far. The government has every right to feel aggrieved, but it is unlikely that it will find much by way of easement in meeting the British High Commissioner, as it does not appear that any British civil or criminal laws were broken, no matter how inflammatory the speech may have been.
The party leadership has sailed very close to the wind, but thus far has been able to avoid prosecution at least in respect of its statements — whilst the small matter of large and unaccountable sums of money found at the residences of MQM leaders in the UK remains another matter entirely. The kind of vitriolic statement that Altaf Hussain has given will do little to ease the party’s plight. What could help the MQM is identifying the alleged criminal elements within its folds and ejecting them. Having said that, rightly or wrongly, a perception has developed that cleansing the country of terrorism and criminality is limited to Sindh only. The problem is nationwide and not only in Sindh. A similarly firm approach needs to be taken in every other province, including Punjab and especially in the south of that province, which is known to harbour extremist elements — elements that appear to lead a charmed life. It is probably futile to urge the MQM leadership to dial back on the rhetoric, and whether it likes it or not, the clean-up must go ahead.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2015.
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